Your Preacher

One of the best books on preaching is “Your Preacher” by Charles Hodge. Hodge preached for the church in Ducanville, Texas, for a quarter of a century. He is funny, blunt, and wise.
“The primary work of a preacher is preaching! God had only one son, and he was a preacher. The church minimizes the pulpit — how tragic! Never underestimate the power of preaching. There is no church problem the pulpit cannot handle. The pulpit is God’s answer to all needs” (page 27).
“A preacher works for Christ not the congregation; he preaches to, not for men … he comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable” (page 28).
“A preacher is a minister of the word. Members do preachers a great injustice. They tell young preachers they do not need to attend college, buy and read great books, spend hours in preparation. A minister is ‘made or broke’ in the Study! Too many preachers are drawing empty buckets from empty wells. A good preacher should spend $200-300 yearly on books” (page 30. He wrote this in 1975).
“One young preacher said to an old one: ‘I bet that sermon took twenty hours.’ The old man replied, ‘Twenty years!’ It takes twenty years to produce a concert pianist, yet we try to produce a preacher overnight!” (page 31).
Why should congregations know this about their preacher? Because congregational expectations for a preacher are unrealistically high … and deplorably low! We expect things of them (perfection, great public relations skills) the Lord never asked for, then ask too little of them in the area where it really counts; speaking for God!
Another great preacher put it this way: “Preach the word: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1,2).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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2 thoughts on “Your Preacher

  1. I am one that started preaching out of due season because of my past. My wife and I enjoy having in home bible studies. I have a great desire to teach and preach the gospel to those that I come in contact with. I work hard on keeping myself unspoted from the world so that I’m not called a hypocrite. I have the zeal to up lift and open the minds of those that are unlearned to edify those in the congregation and those that I come in contact. I was not able to attend collage so I told myself that I would attend the school of preaching and purchase good spiritual books. Please give youe advice on somthings that I can do to better myself as a preacher.

  2. Mr. Scruggs – what an excellent question! Every preacher should have the attitude of the great apostle: We should “do our best” to “present ourselves to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15). May I make some suggestions for material? Subscribe to the Gospel Advocate Magazine (800)-251-8446. It’s the best all round magazine in our fellowship. While you’re there, ask about the following books, written by our brethren:
    * “J.W. McGarvey, “A New Commentary on Acts.”
    * Everett Fergusson, “The Church of Christ. An Ecclesiology for Today.”
    * Jimmy Jividen, “More Than a Feeling.”
    * Harvey Floyd, “Is the Holy Spirit for Me?”
    * Neil Lightfoot, “Lessons from the Parables.”
    Neil Lightfoot, “How We Got the Bible.”
    Jack Exum, “Glory of the Ordinary.”
    * Ira North, “Balance.”
    * A series of short studies by the late Wendell Winkler and his sons Dan and Mike are also excellent studies.
    These should provide excellent beginning in preparing lessons and Bible clssses.
    God’s richest blessings,
    Stan Mitchell

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